Having the desire to manage won’t guarantee your success in management. A confluence of many skills and talents is necessary, as well as a solid commitment to learn and grow.
Rather than adhere to a mythical managerial mold, consider developing a style that fits your personality and strengths. An honest and thoughtful self-assessment will help prepare you for the challenges and demands intrinsic to management.
Ask yourself these questions as you determine your readiness to assume a successful managerial role:
- Am I a compelling communicator? The ability to effectively communicate is essential. Using strong, persuasive language during a staff meeting, for instance, lets people know that you’re in control. A memo that’s written succinctly and in the active voice will get someone’s attention versus one that’s wordy and unclear.
- Do I easily embrace change? Being open to the benefits of change will help the people you manage be more accepting of what lies ahead. Patience, accepting ideas from subordinates, and a willingness to learn from mistakes all contribute to successfully embracing change.
- Do I enjoy managing people? Excelling at project management means taking care of the work and the people involved. Staff reviews, workplace conflicts, and other numerous employee issues must be dealt with, often on a daily basis. But helping your people grow is a very rewarding part of managing.
- Am I capable of managing negativity and fear in the workplace? It’s tempting to want to hide when things aren’t going smoothly, but it’s a manager’s job to maintain a steady presence no matter how rough the waters. Anticipating the negatives and being able to turn them into opportunities is a hallmark of successful management, as is developing the same abilities among members of your team.
- Do I know how to build trust? Creating trust means more than simply telling the truth. Setting clear objectives, taking responsibility for mistakes, and creating an open forum for discussion are all good ways to build trust. Listening to good news and bad will also engender an atmosphere of trust.
- Am I passionate and enthusiastic about my work? If you expect others to be excited about their work, then you must lead the way. Speaking with passion and purpose, assuring people of their value, and demonstrating real excitement are critical managerial characteristics.
- Do I know how to properly praise and recognize? It’s a manager’s job to let people know when they’re doing a good job. Minimize the emotion and maximize the use of powerful language -- say “Thank you for getting the report in on time” versus “I love how you completed that report.”
- Can I infuse fun into the workplace? Work and no fun isn’t, well, fun. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a little amusement in the workplace. Celebrate the completion of a project with an impromptu pizza party. Announce an early closing when people least expect it. Bring in a cake (and candles, too) on employee birthdays.
- Do I have the necessary skills to hire and fire? Hiring the right people is a big job and can be fulfilling as well. Telling someone things aren’t working out may be as appealing as getting a root canal, but handling personnel issues is a manager’s responsibility. Ignoring a human resource issue won’t make it go away. Indeed, it will probably only get worse.
- Can I withstand the ups and downs of being a manager? Some days are better than others. Coping skills like patience, resilience, flexibility, and a clear notion of your objectives will help you handle the myriad challenges that typically occur in the workplace.